I been thinking a lot about quitting Instagram and finding a platform that’s less toxic to my ego. For the past two years I’ve been trying to be good at this shit. In the beginning it felt to me that the effort that I was putting into it was being recognized. I was getting more likes and more followers. But that engagement started to drop quickly for some reason. Intellectually, I know that likes and followers are no indication of how good you are as a photographer, and it’ more indicative of how popular you are, but it’s still the only way to get “rewarded” for you effort here. It still feels shitty when you don’t receive any type of engagement, encouragement, or support. It feels shitty when you’re arbitrarily ignored and when you get unfollowed by people.
Before you respond with the “you should do it because you love it and forget about everyone else” argument, that’s not exactly how the artist and audience relationship works. If we are honest with ourselves, we are all “tryna make it on the internet”™ to a certain degree. We really don’t put our work for the public to see just because. Why go to the trouble of publishing your work if it’s going to be ignored?
@jasonfitzz who has about 60K+ followers, wrote a bit about this problem of engagement on Instagram dropping dramatically. I responded to him on the post that “I think Instagram as a platform for serious photography has reached its peak. Instagram wasn’t really intended to be about “serious” photography anyway. It really was just about sharing your life with pictures and that’s what it still is for the millions of people taking selfies, pictures of their food, and cats. “
Even though some users have managed to thrive there, the community of people doing “serious photography” is really small compared to the millennial teen worried about how many likes her latest selfie got. We got here too late I guess.
What we really need to ask ourselves, and as you can see even people with 60K+ followers are hurting, is what are we really trying to accomplish as a photographer on Instagram. If it’s not getting us closer to our goals, then I think we shouldn’t bother.
Let’s see what happens.